Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: College costs far outpace wages many students could earn. Also in the news: A look at earning hotel elite status in 2021, how California theme parks have adjusted to the pandemic, and how to claim your $10,200 unemployment tax break.

College Costs Far Outpace Wages Many Students Could Earn
Working can help cover college costs, but avoiding student loan debt with a part-time job is nearly impossible.

Is Hotel Elite Status Worth Considering in 2021?
With reduced elite status qualifications, this might be a good year to earn status that’s valid until ’22 or ’23.

Traveling to California? At Theme Parks, Food Is Main Attraction
For now, theme parks are turning into outdoor food venues.

How to Claim Your $10,200 Unemployment Tax Break
THere’s an important new provision in the American Rescue Plan.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 3 strategies on how to invest in CDs. Also in the news: Using a crisis to build helpful money habits, ten theme parks celebrating Halloween, and how to sell your car safely.

How to Invest in CDs: 3 Strategies
CD ladders and CD barbells aim for higher rates over time; CD bullets focus on a future purchase.

You Can Use a Crisis to Build Helpful Money Habits
Hone your budget skills.

Is Halloween Canceled This Year? Not at These 10 Theme Parks
Disney World and other theme parks are still having spooky celebrations with some COVID-19 safety modifications.

How to Sell Your Car Safely
Protect yourself from scammers.

Don’t get taken for a ride this summer at the theme park

The best way to save money at theme parks this summer is simple. Don’t go.

Peak season means peak pricing. Admission discounts can be hard to find, and nearby hotels jack up their rates. Add in the always-inflated prices of food, souvenirs and parking, and you’re buying a pretty expensive day out. At the mega-parks operated by Disney and Universal, a family of four can easily spend $1,000 per day.

In my latest for the Associated Press, how to rein in costs while keeping your sanity.